Monday, December 31, 2012
Unexpectedly I got to do quite a bit of travelling. Chicago in March, Northern Quebec in July, Daytona Beach in September and time at camp in between.
There were sad moments. The loss of a family member and the closing of two doors that I would have rather have stayed open, one professional and the other personal. And then there were the severe forrest fires that threatened the area around my hometown.
There were a lot of changes. Our church hired a consultant and as a result of his recommendations and the Lord's leading we've made drastic changes to the way our church functions and operates and it's only just begun. I got to watch as God furthered the ministry reach of the MAD Christian Radio Show and see Him bring it to places I never thought possible. I went from being an employee to an employer. And I re-arranged big portions of my life and schedule to pursue this dream of becoming a business owner.
I scratched some items off of my bucket list. Including buying a DSLR and pursing photography, inventing something, stepping foot on a submarine, and getting my boating licence.
And I've had the privilege of investing in and seeing relationships around me grow. With my family, with my small group, and with my friends. It's so true that the quality of our lives are hinged on the quality of our relationships.
There were some tough times, it wasn't perfect, but it was a good year. Not because of the trips or highlights, but because I can look back and say I'm not the same person January 1st of this year that I was January 1st of last year. And I consider that to be the milestone I look for in the passing of time.
That said, growth is my goal for 2013. Some great things lie ahead, including opportunities that are bigger than my wildest dreams, but my goal isn't just to grab the next big thing. There is also quite a bit of uncertainty regarding events that lie ahead, but my goal isn't to have a life that is shielded from uncertianity. My goal is to be more like Christ with each year that passes and to keep my eyes focused on who He is and where He is leading me.
After all, awards and accomplishments amount to nothing. My life isn't about building acclaim for my name, but for His. And if one day I can look back over all of my years put together and see more of Him than me that will be my definition of a life well lived.
Happy New Year!
Friday, December 21, 2012
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
As someone who does website design for a living I have to say HTML5 truly is the future of website design. Where once for everyday websites developers were pushing things like flash and php, now the standard for websites is clearly HTML5.
So what does this mean for those who use the internet but don't design for it? You can come to expect websites that are across the board compatible with your browsers, rather than you having to download plugin after plugin. You can also expect to see more and more multimedia incorporated into websites and features like drag and drop for uploading files. You can also expect, with a little help from jQuery, a lot more websites that are mobile friendly, meaning you won't have to squint to see text and images on your smartphone.
As a designer HTML5 required new learning yes, but I love what I'm able to do with it. Want to see an example? Check out this website I recently completed. It was my second project done in HTML5 (the first was retracted after the client decided to go in a different direction with the layout and features) and I can't wait to work more in it!
Saturday, December 15, 2012
Sunday, December 02, 2012
9 Things That Motivate Employees More Than Money
Winning the Next Wave of the Internet: Mobile
How To Close More Sales Without Being Pushy
And then a couple that are related to website design:
The Top 10 Web Design Skills You Will Need
How much do you charge for web design?
Website Mistakes To Avoid
Any recommendations on articles I should be reading?
Saturday, November 17, 2012
And while working on the weekends means less social time, a delay in getting the Christmas decorations up in the yard, and less time to spend unwinding, one thing it's not going to mean this weekend is me missing out on church.
While some people have said that church is our way of showing obedience to God, for me it's that but it's more than that too. Church is like having the fire fanned so I can keep running the race with passion from Monday to next Sunday. When I miss out on either Sunday morning service or meeting with my incredible small group, I feel it. And I don't like the way it feels.
I want to live my life with passion and purpose, not with mediocracy. So meeting together with other people who get that is like giving water to a thirsty soul.
Yes church is about worship and teaching and obedience, but if you haven't found a congregation or small group where it's also like an incredible family who has your back, picks you up when you are stumbling, and cares for you, you're missing out.
So where are you going to be this Sunday morning? It's my prayer for you that it's in a community who gets what the Christian life is all about and equips you to run your race with endurance.
Thursday, November 08, 2012
"The important thing is not being afraid to take a chance. Remember, the greatest failure is to not try. Once you find something you love to do, be the best at doing it." – Debbi Fields
"Business opportunities are like buses, there’s always another one coming." – Richard Branson
"There is no royal, flower-strewn path to success. And if there is, I have not found it. For if I have accomplished anything in life, it is because I have been willing to work hard." – C.J. Walker
"Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly and get on with improving your other innovations." –Steve Jobs
"To the degree we’re not living our dreams; our comfort zone has more control of us than we have over ourselves." – Peter McWilliams
"People are definitely a company’s greatest asset. It doesn’t make any difference whether the product is cars or cosmetics. A company is only as good as the people it keeps." – Mary Kay Ash
"I don’t pay good wages because I have a lot of money; I have a lot of money because I pay good wages." – Robert Bosch
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Life gets busy, we have bills that need paying and people who need calling and we can get so caught up in the urgency of today that we overlook the miracles of yesterday.
I had somewhat of a wake-up call in that department myself this weekend. It started Friday when I was reminded it was 7 years to the day that I had one of my surgeries. This was a very defining moment in my life as those who have been following this blog for a while or know me well would recognize. It wasn't just a moment that passed by in time, it was a defining event in my life as I experienced pain like I had never known before (or thankfully since) and as it set the course for my health (or lack thereof) for years to follow. As I thought back on those days and made a point of going back and re-reading some of my journal entries I had a hard time believing that I actually walked through those days. And not only walked through those days and survived, but emerged on the other side stronger, better connected with God, and so refined that my life will never be the same again. At the time all I could see was pain and suffering and destruction, but in hindsight God was writing a different story.
On Sunday morning I got another reminder of just where I came from. My brother was giving his testimony at his church and invited me to attend. Sitting there listening to his story, which in a lot of ways is also my story, I was floored as I realized just how much God brought me through and just how different my life would have ended up if I didn't have Him in my life, creating purpose from the pain. My childhood in a lot of ways was not an easy one, but when I look back today that's not the way I see it, neither do my siblings or my mom. When we look back and remember we see the hand of God, protecting us from harm and providing us with the kind of love, support and community that we needed to walk through those days and emerge strongly on the other side. Yes we all have our wounds, but as the years have passed I've seen firsthand those wounds turn into healing in a way that only God can. I've also seen God cement my relationship with my family as a result into a very powerful thing. With God, who we are today is not where we came from. Who we are today is who we became with the God of Redemption writing our story.
As I looked back this weekend and took the time to remember, both the good and the bad, I realized that looking back is something that we all should do more of. After all, how much stronger would our faith be for the circumstances we face today if we looked at them in light of what God did yesterday?
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Some people think that surrendering means giving up something. In this sense I don't agree. Looking back over the last fifteen years I don't see loss, I see trading for gain.
Feelings of unworthiness for unconditional love.
Regret for forgiveness.
Wounds for healing.
Bitterness for grace.
Loneliness for belonging.
And ultimately, death for life.
That choice 13 years ago, that decision to allow God to start working in my life set off a domino effect in my life and I've seen His Hand bring healing and redemption.
Does that mean my life is perfect? No, far from it. What it does mean is that I don't walk alone. Following Jesus brings purpose, but it also provides His Presence and having that with me in this life is just as valuable as what is now waiting for me in the next. It's an experience that not only brings me peace, love, joy, grace, and comfort, but has transformed me so that I can extend that kind of gift to others.
Does that mean I have arrived? Hardly. I like anyone have a far way to go when it comes to being perfect, but with Jesus I am on that journey and every year it is my goal to become more Christlike than I was the year before.
That's the Christian life in a nutshell, less of me makes room for more of Him. And when you've experienced what having more of Him looks like, you're willing to clear up the space in your heart that's needed to allow Him in, because there's nothing on this earth that can compare to what He brings.
Friday, October 05, 2012
Thursday, September 27, 2012
At the end of August I found out that due to circumstances beyond anyone's control the cottage would not be available and just when I was ready to cancel my holidays my Mom and I were presented with the idea of spending a week in Florida and after one thing after another fell into place, we headed out on September 15.
It was a long day of travel with flights from Timmins to Toronto then Toronto to Charlotte, North Carolina and then Charlotte to Orlando, followed by a shuttle ride to Daytona Beach but I loved every minute of it. Charlotte has the nicest airport I've ever been to, complete with rocking chairs free to use, and it was no sacrifice to enjoy a real southern lunch there complete with sweet tea.
In Daytona Beach we stayed right on the water and our room was bumped up to one with a fantastic view of the ocean. What a view to wake up to every morning!
On Monday we spent a magical day at Walt Disney World. The last time I was there was at the age of 8 and I was concerned that as someone in my twenties it would no longer live up to the hype, but it surpassed my expectations. We spent a whole day exploring the Magic Kingdom and re-visiting some of my favorite childhood rides, along with some new ones like Pirates of the Caribbean. The day ended off with the electric parade at night, followed by the fabulous Wishes Fireworks display which hands down is the best fireworks display I've ever seen and was quite a moving show with the combination of fireworks, music, and narration.
Most of the rest of our time there was spent lounging by the pool and playing in the ocean waves. I loved riding them on my board and the water was so warm that it was like being in paradise.
I'll be honest, it was really hard coming home at the end of the week. And had it not been for the people and church I love luring me home, I definitely could have stayed there forever!
I'm very thankful for that trip.
I only realized it after being there a few days, but I really needed that time away. I'm heading into a period in my life where I'm facing a lot of changes and while they great ones, they still are changes and change can take its toll, especially when you know that some one of your upcoming decisions is going to be an unpopular one (MAD listeners worry not, I have no intention of stopping the show!). That said it was so fabulous to be able to have a week where the only decisions I needed to make were which wave to hit or which pair of flip flops to put on.
God knows what we need even when we don't and I praise Him for presenting me with this unexpected blessing.
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
When someone no longer feels like they have the freedom to run with their ideas and do what they do best, everyone loses.
So what can we do to make sure we aren't killing creativity in those around us? Well there is a great article here that lists how creativity gets stifled in most situations and it's definitely worth a read. But I have one more reason to add to that list- the perceived lack of trust.
If a church hires a pastor believing he is the person God has chosen for the job but then proceeds to second guess his every decision, that lack of trust is going to tear that person down and possibly quench their fire.
If a business hires someone qualified to do a job and then over manages them every step of the way to the point that the person is not free to do what they do best, that's going to take the wind out of their sails and make them a less effective and more mundane employee.
On the flip side if we all spent more time building people up and giving them the freedom to shine than we do criticizing them and seeking to control them the world would be a better place. Just my thoughts for today.
Saturday, August 25, 2012
This theory is widely disputed and it seems as though very few people buy into it as truth. And while I in no way believe it, I have to ask: if we knew that it was true, how would that change how we live today?
Just think, if our time on earth was going to expire in less than four months, what would change in your life?
Would you spend more hours at work than are necessary? Or would you go home on time and spend quality time with family and friends?
Would you continue to be glued to your cell phone, sending endless texts and religiously checking your email? Or would you put the phone away and allow yourself to be fully aware and awake in each moment that you're given?
Would you allow fractured relationships to stay broken? Or would you choose instead to forgive and take the first steps towards reconciliation?
The truth is no one, not even the Mayans, know when our time on earth is going to end. In Matthew 24:36 Jesus makes it very clear that only God knows when that is going to happen and He gives no one on this earth a preview. Whether that's from the end of the world or our time to die, not one of us can know when our days are going to run out.
That said, shouldn't it change the way we live? Shouldn't we look at every year, every month, every day, every moment as if it could be our last? Not because a Mayan told us it could be, but because we are not born with an expiration date that we are privy to?
James 4:14 teaches: "How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog- it's here a little while, then it's gone."
I don't know about you, but I truly desire to live out each moment I'm given to the fullest and make my life count for something that will outlive me. And while I don't believe the Mayans are right, I do welcome the urgency that thinking about the end of our world can bring to our lives.
Let me leave you with a few thoughts on making your life count from the book "Don't Waste Your Life" by John Piper:
"You get one pass at life. That's all. Only one. And the lasting measure of that life is Jesus Christ."
"It was becoming clearer and clearer that if I wanted to come to the end of my life and not say 'I've wasted it' then I would need to press all the way in, and all the way up, to the ultimate purpose of God and join Him in it. If my life was to have a single, all-satisfying, unifying passion, it would have to be God's passion."
Monday, August 06, 2012
Story after story has been told of mothers and fathers being behind their kids 110% of the way; of brothers and sisters encouraging, supporting and challenging their siblings to bring out their best; even of aunts and uncles who sacrificed to bring these athletes to where they are today.
It's amazing the difference that your home team can make.
This brings to mind something I read in the book Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist. She wrote:
I know in my own life I wouldn't be where I am today without my home team. Some of these members are family, like my mom who would get up at 6 am on Sunday to bring me to hockey. Others are friends and others still are employers, teachers, coaches and neighbours and each one of them have made a contribution to my life that has been invaluable to me.
Some of my home team members have changed over the years, others have been there from day one, but they've each brought their own unique contribution in encouraging me, inspiring me, and supporting me. And I desire to bring the same to them. To be as Shauna put it "a middle-of-the night, no-matter-what person".
That's not a role only reserved for Mom's and Dad's of olympians, that's a role that we each can take on to bring out the best in those around us.
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Tuesday, July 03, 2012
Friday, June 22, 2012
But last night something within me changed. It started when I opened my study guide to see that the chapter our small group would be going through that night addressed one of the exact issues I was dealing with. Coincidence? I think not.
Then on the drive home I had a good reminder from God that He is still in control and I'm not in this alone. It's not up to me to find a solution to the problem. Yes I have my part to play, but if I turn it over to Him, He's going to lead me and show me what to do.
This verse keeps coming to mind. I know it's quoted often, but it's one that really encourages me and I thought I'd share:
"The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint." (Isaiah 40:28-31)
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Thursday, May 24, 2012
This afternoon the winds shifted and smoke from a huge fire to the west of the city started dropping over the area, leaving the sky an eerie colour and changing the sun in a way I've never seen before (see photo).
Unfortunately the smoke creates an issue for people like my grandfather who has respiratory problems.
Your prayers for heavy rain and the winds to change would be greatly appreciated!
"Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops." (James 5:17-19)
Monday, April 23, 2012
Friday, April 06, 2012
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Monday, January 02, 2012
I'm not a big risk taker when it comes to my life. I'm the type of person that tends to play it safe. I'm predictable. Most of my decisions don't shock anybody. And for most of my life I was okay with that.
But lately something has changed. As my health has taken a dramatic turn for the better I knew that the time was coming to pursue a full-time career instead of juggling whatever part-time jobs I could come up with. And while I have been absolutely thrilled to have the energy and opportunity to do more with my life, I have to admit it was a little scary at the same time too. Because suddenly there was an awful lot of unknowns and a lot of decisions facing me down.
Should I move out of town to pursue a different career than what would be available to me here?
Should I go back to school?
Should I build on what I have been doing?
Or should I pursue something else entirely?
I have to admit somewhere deep down inside I was tempted to do something safe, something secure. Like work at a bank or something like that. But as I looked out at the blank canvas of my future I realized something. And that's if I'm ever going to take a chance, this is the time. By most people's standards I'm still pretty young. I have no big obligations or commitments like a mortgage or kids. If there was ever a moment to wander away from my typical path of taking the safest route, this is it.
And so after a lot of thinking and prayer I decided a few months ago that I wasn't going to play it safe when it comes to my career. The stability lover in me would be happy to take a nine to five job with benefits and a steady paycheck, but the dreamer in me knows that's not the path I'm supposed to travel right now.
Which is why I choose to follow my hearts desire and that is to pursue opening up my own business, something I'm in the process of doing right now.
The business? Media and design. For over 10 years I've been dabbling in web design. Over the years I've built quite a few sites for people and it was both something I enjoyed and a supplement to my income. Then over the past year I've expanded into video production and that's also been picking up steam, to the point where I think if I really pursue web design and media (such as video production) full-time I can make a go of it. Of course as anyone who has worked in the industry knows, to get where I want to be requires a sizable investment in equipment, software, and the like, which is where the risk comes in.
So yes, this is perhaps the most "unsafe" decision I've ever made in my life, but it is also one that is making me feel so alive and like I'm finally where I am supposed to be in life. Even as I work endlessly on business plans and cost projections and all kinds of things that are causing me to reopen my university textbooks, I'm loving every minute of it and I can't wait to see where this goes!
This song from Michael Paynter has become my theme song for this journey, because yes, I'm learning to love the fall.